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Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the Web.

Iowa News

Iowa legislators to discuss Medicaid transition Tuesday
State legislators will meet this Tuesday afternoon to discuss Iowa’s transition to Medicaid managed care during the second and final oversight meeting of the year. The state handed over its $5 billion Medicaid program with more than 600,000 enrollees to three private insurers on April 1. Since then, providers have run into billing issues, citing late or inaccurate payments while critics the insurance companies have reported millions of dollars in losses. The Health Policy Oversight Committee will review the second-quarter report put out by Department of Human Services in late November. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

North Iowa health care challenge: finding enough caregivers
Hospitals across the country are facing a provider shortage, but physician recruitment is even more challenging in rural areas like North Iowa. Ninety percent of those who are completing their medical training prefer to work in a community with a population of 50,000 or more, said Mitch Morrison, director of provider services and recruitment at Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa. Trying to attract providers to communities in the network that are smaller than Mason City is even tougher, according to Morrison. (Mason City Globe Gazette)

Pella Regional Health Center welcomes 500th baby of 2016
Born Tuesday, Bryson Zander McCloud has already made history. His December 6th birth marked the 500th baby born in 2016 at Pella Regional Health Center. Reaching 500 deliveries in one year is a record number at Pella Regional. Next fall, Pella Regional staff and physicians will be opening their new Family Birthing Center. With the growth in deliveries over the past few years, staff said had become apparent that an expansion was needed to serve the growing number of women choosing to have their baby at Pella Regional. (KNIA/KRLS)

National News

Georgia offers tax break for giving to hospitals
In season of gift-giving, Georgia is encouraging gifts to rural hospitals. The reason: a lot of these healing institutions are themselves ailing, financially. Georgia will soon open a deal to individuals and to corporations: donate money to a qualifying rural hospital and get a state tax credit worth up to 70 percent of the value of the donation. Chuck Adams, executive vice president of the Georgia Hospital Association, has a list of needs he’s hearing from rural hospitals. For example, many of them inhabit decades-old buildings and haven’t had the cash to do major updates and renovations. (Macon Telegraph)

Grants prepare future providers, enhance care in North Carolina’s rural areas
The Department of Family Medicine at East Carolina University has landed several large grants this year aimed at enhancing primary health care in rural areas. The largest of the three awards, $2.5 million over five years, focuses on training future health care professionals across multiple disciplines to deliver the type of primary care that will be increasingly important as the U.S. moves toward a patient-centered medical home model. It emphasizes high quality, patient-focused, interdisciplinary team-based care. (Greenville Daily Reflector)

Telehealth helps seniors in New Hampshire recover in rural areas
The New Jewish Home in Manhattan’s Upper West Side is using a videogame console-like system outfitted with a Microsoft Kinect camera that monitors 25 points on the body to track movements of seniors and relays the data back to health care teams who can remotely watch their progress and adjust their program as necessary. The program is called Jintronix and is part of the emerging health field of telerehabilitation. In the coming year, the New Jewish Home is hoping to discharge some 30 patients with this equipment as part of a pilot program to provide occupational and physical therapy at home. (New Hampshire Union Leader)

How to draw blood without a needle
Blood draws are one of the most common and frequent procedures in hospitals. Patients have blood drawn wherever they get care: hospitals, doctor’s offices, skilled-nursing facilities and elsewhere. But the conventional method is imperfect. Patients at Sacramento, California-based Sutter Health’s hospitals and clinics across Northern California could soon have their blood drawn a little differently. Instead of sticking a patient with a needle, nurses will tap into existing peripheral IV lines using a device called a PIVO. The PIVO draws blood through a peripheral IV line already inserted into the patient. (Modern Healthcare)

GOP will kill Obamacare … and then fund it
Republicans are going to kill Obamacare — but first they might have to save it. The already fragile Obamacare markets — beset by soaring premiums and fleeing insurers — are likely to collapse unless Republicans take deliberate steps to stabilize them while they build consensus on a replacement plan, say health care experts. That could lead to a mess for the roughly 10 million Americans currently getting coverage through the government-run marketplaces — and backlash against the GOP. “It’s not going to be politically possible to throw 20 million people out on the street without health insurance,” said John Goodman, a right-leaning health care policy analyst. (Politico)

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